Metrics are a very powerful tool that can help shape and improve performance whether your goal is optimizing creative operations or marketing campaigns. They are also a means to show an agency’s success against established key performance indicators (KPIs). Metrics can be defined as a quantifiable set of numbers that give information about a process or activity. They provide measurements about how operations are functioning, or a marketing campaign is performing and offer up a base for you to suggest improvements. Most importantly, metrics elicit conversation and focus our attention on the things that matter. They can be used to help us improve the operations and organization of our agency and the creative and marketing deliverables we produce.

Looking to shape your organization’s operations with goals and metrics?

It’s important to distinguish between operational and marketing metrics. Operational metrics focus on the functioning of a team - how well they are performing and what types of projects they are working on. Marketing metrics, which are probably a newer pursuit for in-house agencies track the success of creative deliverables that are part of a marketing campaign.

Regardless of what types of metrics you’re reporting on, you need to make sure that you have the proper project management or marketing tools in place and that your team is capturing time in a way that affords you the ability to track a variety of data.

The benefits of creative and marketing metrics

Metrics have become a critical driver of success for in-house agencies. Let’s take a look at some of the benefits of using operational metrics: 

  • Act as a catalyst to investigate and discuss organizational issues
  • Help you know and prove you are operating both effectively (doing the right thing) and efficiently (in the right way)
  • Supply historical information to assist in planning,forecasting and resourcing
  • Provide a feedback mechanism to make more informed decisions and make continuous improvement a reality
  • Support the case for resources, with data
  • Identify trends in growing offerings or services
  • Provide insight into staff utilization and capacity for better deployment of resources and planning for surges

Likewise, marketing metrics elicit benefits:

  • Bring clarity to what is working and what isn’t
  • Help you improve marketing performance
  • Improves growth rate
  • Create a competitive advantage
  • Identify customer preferences
  • Increase ROI

Looking at these benefits, it is equally important to remember that metrics are facts that need to be interpreted. They are not necessarily truth but a trigger to investigate further. They don’t provide answers, however they do provide insight. Metrics can be very powerful, so it’s important that  you take pains to understand and use them in the right way. 

A creative and marketing metrics strategy

There are countless possibilities when it comes to what you can track and measure, but not all are essential to your organization. You don’t want to fall into the trap of measuring the wrong things or too many things. So how do you decide?

To develop a metrics strategy, you will need to figure out the metrics that are important to your entire organization. This is going to require doing some research, involving the right people, and asking questions. Key stakeholders to approach include marketing managers, procurement, finance, your upper managers and your leadership team.

Then, consider who the audiences are for your metrics. Executive leadership and individual contributors both have a need for metrics but may require slightly different data and a different level of detail.

Finally, determine what needs to be measured. Take your goals into consideration. What are the key questions you need answered to ensure you are making progress against those goals? To answer those questions, we create metrics in the form of KPIs and marketing metrics.

Creative operational metrics typically fall into one of the 4 categories listed below with some sample KPIs.

Financial Metrics Products & Services Metrics Process Metrics Organizational Metrics
Department Revenue Customer Satisfaction Utilization Employee Satisfaction
Cost Avoidance Resource Use by Client/LOB Cycle times Attrition Rate
Department Budget vs. Actual Product Mix by Job Category Error Rate  
  Product Mix by Job Type On-time delivery  
  Resource Usage by Tier Rounds of revisions  
  Project Volume by Job Category Project Time - estimate vs. actual  
  Project Volume by Job Type  Speed to Market by Job Type & Tier  

Marketing metrics can fall into many categories depending on your marketing mix. The bulk are metrics associated with digital marketing efforts. Not only are these metrics easier to track than for print, but more and more, companies are turning to digital marketing as their primary platform for their marketing initiatives. Included below are some sample categories and KPIs.

General Marketing Metrics Website Metrics SEO Metrics Social Engagement Metrics Email Marketing Metrics
Qualified Leads Referral Traffic Keyword Ranking Likes Open Rate
Customer Acquisition Cost Organic Traffic Search Traffic Comments Response Rate
Referrals Total Visits SERP visibility Shares Unsubscribe Rate
Customer Lifetime Value First Visit Total Backlinks Followers Bounce Rate
Brand Awareness Returning Visits Domain Authority    
ROI Bounce Rate Page Speed    
Conversion Rate Conversion Rate      

In addition to what you are measuring you will need to determine who will measure it, what the time interval is between measurement, and how frequently the information will be reported. This can require a significant investment of time and resources, so try to automate reporting as much as possible. Though, most programs will require customization of reports, their data typically can be exported into a format that allows for easier manipulation.

A strong metrics strategy is well worth the effort you put into it. Goals and metrics shape an organization’s operations and inform marketing decisions. Without them you would simply be operating by what “feels right” and not demonstrating best practices. This is an important step toward telling your story of continuous improvement in a customer-centric culture.